Ed’s been making spindles for five years. During the first couple of years he worked to refine his design of the Standard Turkish spindles until he felt he had a good understanding of what makes for a well balanced, good spinning spindle. In the Spring of 2008 he designed what to us seemed like a mini Turkish spindle, our Turkish Delight. Around that time he also experimented with making a Ladakhi man’s spindle, the Skuru by using the proportions from a picture sent to us from Celtic Jo, who’d taken the picture while visiting in Ladakh, asking if Ed could make her one. He made a couple but wasn’t happy with the imperfect balance and seemingly cumbersome appearance.
I took one of his skuru’s to Sock Summit 2009 as part of our display. A woman who saw it asked us if we’d be interested in seeing a Turkish spindle she’d picked up years ago while touring through Turkey. We arranged to meet at Oregon Flock and Fiber. Ed was fascinated with the spindle and he made a couple more sort of based on its size and shape which was very similar to the Ladakh skuru but this one had chip carving on it. And weighed almost 4 ounces! Surprisingly they spin half decently, it just takes more concentration and experience.
During that same time he began developing the wee Kuchulu which was released in October. From huge to tiny, both intriguing and fun to spin, especially the kuchulu which is like a little turbo of speed and energy spinning out cobweb and lace. We can hardly keep up with orders. It doesn’t help that he sands the skin off his fingers and needs to let them heal for at least a week before making another batch.
Somewhere along the way he dreamed of a sleek mid-whorl spindle and next thing I knew, he put one in my hands asking me to give it a test run. The elegant sweet spinning Lark which debuted this past Spring.
Imagine our surprise when hardly had the doors at Black Sheep Gathering opened when a woman zoomed straight to our table with a contagious air of excitement. She reached into her bag and plunked down a spindle much the size of our Larks. Fifteen years ago she was strolling through a marketplace in a small town in Greece when she saw this item and was totally captivated. She thought it was simply a child’s top. After learning to spin a year ago she was shocked to realize it was a real spindle.
Pictured on my book for size reference.
Dana placed it in Ed’s hands and asked if he could make her something like it.
A couple months have gone by with the Greek spindle never far from Ed’s thoughts. Meanwhile, Chrome64 (you must see her amazing sweater knit as she finished spinning fiber samples) accidentally let one of her kuchulus get to chummy with one of her Larks and she loved the resultant spin. She contacted Ed pleading with him to make this hybrid spindle for her. Oh my, how these offspring of the Lark/Delight/Kuchulu fly! Other than Ed’s first seven prototypes, named Jay, he hasn’t yet made more, but that will soon be remedied. The other very very cool thing about the Jay is that if a person owns a Lark, Ed will made a Jay shaft to fit it so the Lark can be converted into a Jay. Jenkins Jay on the left, Jenkins Lark on the right
While all this new flurry is kicking up the sawdust around the home place yet another type of spindle has quietly made an appearance, known only to three of us. Until now.
A couple weeks ago Dana of the Greek spindle contacted me and invited us to her house. Ed needed to work but I arranged to visit her last Friday. Thursday Ed came into the house from the shop and set two spindles on the kitchen table to be weighed and signed. Taken completely by surprise I held each in turn then ran and grabbed a bit of fiber to test spin them. Finally the weights were recorded and the spindles returned to the shop for the first coat of finish. Friday morning I applied Wood Beams as the final coat then tucked them in with the wool from last week’s post to take along to Dana’s.
While Dana’s back was turned I slipped the two spindles onto the table. Gobsmacked, she was. Simply gobsmacked.
She hardly knew which to pick up and spin first. We compared Ed’s with hers and declared them a decent match though hers has the wonderful patina of age. Then we set them up and tried spinning all three at once while running the camera. Hmm, still need to get that video on YouTube.
Cherry chip carved spindle left 18grams/0.64oz , Greek spindle middle, Pear chip-carved spindle right 19 grams/0.67 oz. I have no idea when Ed plans to start making them to sell, or what we’ll be calling them. I’d love an easy to pronounce Greek word for some type of song bird.
Our daughter’s birthday is coming up and her handwarmers aren’t finished yet. (I’m a bit astonished that I got sidetracked into posting here tonight when my one focus was to be knitting!) One has only the final ribbing to finish, the other has the thumb to finish and the final ribbed edge. Here’s hoping I don’t get sidetracked to much in the next couple of days.